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FAMILY ARE ‘OVER THE MOON’ AS FUNDRAISING TARGET IS MET FOR SPECIALIST SEATING

Fabulous fundraisers have ensured a terminally ill ten-year-old will have the specialist seating she needs to use the vertical lift in her Harborne home, so she can easily access her own bedroom.

A recent appeal for funds in the Sunday Mercury for Shania Street to have the seating which fits into the lift raised £50 towards the £3,953 needed, so Central England Co-operative has stepped in to fund the rest.

Now Shania will be able to safely access the princess style bedroom she loves, as well as the rest of her home, while still using all the medical equipment she needs, such as tube feeds and oxygen. As the seating is powered it will also mean adjustments can easily be made to keep her as comfortable as possible and give her posture the proper support so she is comfortable and relaxed.

A rare neurodegenerative disorder means Shania has Cerebral Palsy, which means she can’t walk or stand for transfers, isn’t able to speak and needs a tube in her throat to help her breathe and another through which she is fed. She experiences seizures, is prone to chest infections and needs help to maintain her own head control. Although her parents Marion and Kevin were told she wouldn’t survive beyond the age of three or four, she has defied medical expectations.

When Shania goes outside the home she uses a wheelchair large enough to transport both her and vital medical equipment, however, this is so bulky and heavy it doesn’t fit in the lift that lets her access the first floor of the family home, so Dad Kevin has been carrying Shania upstairs to her bedroom at night and down to the wet room each morning. As Shania weighs seven stone, she is only a few stone lighter than her dad, who also has arthritis and finds it difficult to lift her, making it unsafe for him to continue to do this.

To fund the specialist seating Shania needs, her family turned to Newlife the Charity for Disabled Children – the UK’s largest charity provider of specialist equipment for children with disabilities and terminal illness, which launched an appeal for local heroes to come forward to help make this happen for her.

Mum Marion said: “We are over the moon Shania will have this chair. It means she can use the lift to go into her bedroom so her dad doesn’t have to carry her everywhere. She will be able to go everywhere in the house and even into the garden. It also means she can sit up and watch her princess programmes in comfort instead of having to lie down all the time.

“I could have jumped with excitement when I found out, I could have cried, It will make a big improvement to all our lives. I am so grateful to everyone who helped fund the seating.”
Newlife has been Central England Co-operative’s staff-elected charity since 2012 – and colleagues and customers have raised £1.3million, which has in turn has helped fund specialist equipment like wheelchairs and walking frames, portable hoists and communication aids for more than 600 children in the retailer’s trading area.

Mark Clifford, Manager at Central England Co-operative’s convenience store in Court Oak Road, Harborne, said: “Central England Co-operative takes fundraising to help local communities very seriously, and we are committed to making a positive impact in the local areas in which we trade. Working with Newlife has provided a great opportunity for us to help make life easier for youngsters like Shania.”

Newlife provides equipment for children with disabilities and terminal illness through a range of services. Equipment Grants fund permanent provision; Emergency Equipment Loans support children with unstable, life-threatening or life-limiting illness and those who face injury due to the absence of appropriate equipment; Play Therapy Pods offer loans of sensory toys which aid development; Comfort Capsules help families of terminally ill children make memories. All services are accessed through the Newlife Nurse Helpline – 0800 902 0095 (free from UK mobiles and landlines).

To find out how you could help a child in the county, go to: www.newlifecharity.co.uk/westmidlands. Alternatively, call the Newlife County Liaison Team – tel no 01543 431 444 – or email [email protected]

Pictured: Shania Street

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